• Date awarded: June 2021
  • Awarded value: £6,000
  • Fund: NHS Charities Together Community Partnership Grants Programme
  • Location: Fife-wide

Fife Health Charity provided funding via NHS Charities Together Community Partnership Grants Programme to help support people to stay out of hospital following a near fatal overdose (NFO) or to leave hospital at the earliest opportunity.

Established in 1977, Fife Alcohol Support Service, or FASS, provides a range of services designed to meet the special needs of vulnerable people within the local community who are affected by alcohol related problems and substance misuse. The charity also provides help for carers of individuals experiencing difficulty and for people who are socially isolated and vulnerable.

One aspect of the specialist support provided by FASS is to help people stay out of hospital following a near fatal overdose (NFO), or to support them to leave hospital at the earliest opportunity. Tailored for clients of the ADAPT team within FASS, during the pandemic the Home Essentials project helped to free up beds when hospital capacity was at a premium due to COVID-19 related admissions, and when there has been a sharp spike in the number of NFOs, due in part to the impact of the pandemic.

ADAPT is the main drug and alcohol triage service in Fife. The service provides assessment of need and referral to specialist drug and alcohol services within the NHS and the third sector, plus providing information, advice and initial help for alcohol and/or drug use.  Anyone requiring more intensive help can be guided and supported towards ADAPT’s counselling and other services. Advice and counselling for carers of people suffering from substance misuse is also available via ADAPT.

The challenging lifestyles of ADAPT team clients often leaves them isolated and in need of basic essentials. Having access to the Home Essential service after a NFO can help ensure everyday survival, especially in the key month or so after overdose. Providing a basic phone and top-up cards enables a client to keep in touch with vital services and even offer a lifeline. Providing vouchers for clothes and food can boost health, wellbeing and esteem not only for the clients, but also for their families who often have to deal with support agencies.

Through referrals and direct work with the Fife Health and Social Care Partnership, the Home Essential project has so far reached 225 people throughout Fife. Due to the scale of need and the number of clients presenting, the ADAPT team are working with many more clients than anticipated. Funding from Fife Health Charity has helped to ease pressures on the team and ensure it meets its key objectives to keep people on track with treatment, reduce drug related deaths and help stay in touch with services following a NFO.

The Difference Our Funding Is Making

The ADAPT team at FASS has shared the personal experience of a 38-year-old vulnerable man who had been homeless for eight years as an example of the difference that support from Fife Health Charity is making to their work. With no access to his own money because his benefits were being paid into someone else’s bank account, ADAPT’s client was being taking advantage of financially. The ADAPT team secured hostel accommodation and was able to provide their client with clothing, toiletries and food through the Home Essentials project. Providing a basic phone and top up card enabled the team to give their client access to additional support services.

After moving into temporary housing, the client received ongoing support from the ADAPT team on a weekly basis, including managing his bank account and becoming drugs-free. The team also liaised with a local housing association to help with the client’s accommodation and benefits needs, and with his GP regarding his medication.

“This is the best thing that’s happened to me in years and with all the support I’m getting, I’m realising that I can change my life and do something positive with it.”

FASS ADAPT Team Client